Johnson County Commissioner Steve Klika has been replaced as Johnson County’s representative on the metro area’s transportation agency, after an agency manager lodged a complaint about him.
Johnson County Commission Chair Ed Eilert announced Thursday that he had appointed County Commissioner Jim Allen to the Kansas City Area Transportation Authority board as Johnson County’s representative. The appointments are made on a yearly basis.
Klika had been the Johnson County representative to the KCATA since 2011, but his latest term was up at the end of December and he did not seek reappointment. He told The Star in late December that he did not want to be a distraction as the agency works to become a better regional transit system.
The latest appointment followed disclosure of an incident in which Klika was accused of grabbing a KCATA manager by the face and shaking her head, in what the employee described as an abuse of power. Agency benefits manager Libby Lynch told The Star in late December that Klika was having a conversation with her one day last summer when he grabbed her face in a way that made her feel extremely uncomfortable. She told the transit agency’s legal counsel what happened and an investigation ensued. She did not file a lawsuit but said she wanted Klika off the agency board.
Klika has said he meant no disrespect and was giving Lynch advice on how to get a co-worker’s attention, putting his hands on her face to show her how to get someone to look her in the eye.
Eilert said Thursday said he had no intention of reappointing Klika to the KCATA board, and Klika didn’t oppose that decision.
“I was not going to reappoint him because of the circumstances,” Eilert said.
He said Allen was a good choice for the transit agency board because he currently serves on the Mid-America Regional Council total transportation policy committee and on the Johnson County Transportation Council.
Allen has served on the Johnson County Commission since 2009 and his current term ends in 2021. He served as mayor of Shawnee from 1993 to 2004 and was a Shawnee city councilman before that.
He said he’s interested in how Johnson County transit and the regional bus system are serving both the disabled population and other transit riders, with innovative transit approaches.
“I think in today’s world you have to adapt, and it appears they are doing that,” he said, adding that he wants to be a part of a board that is continuing to improve the service.